Lola Rolls
Advice on Life from a Former Sideshow Fat Lady

Better Off Alone

Posted By on Sunday, August 9th, 2020

Dear Lola,

Before the pandemic hit, I started dating someone, and we decided to quarantine together. Even though I still maintain my own residence, my partner and I (he is a man, and I’m a woman) are essentially living together. It’s safe to say that our relationship progressed more quickly than it would have under normal circumstances.

For context, my partner and I are both in our 50s and have been previously married and have grown children. Tensions have ebbed and flowed since we started spending so much time together.

One sticking point is that my partner considers me disorganized and messy. There is some truth to this.

Last week, my partner exploded at me for leaving some junk mail and food wrappers on the counter. I don’t tolerate being screamed at for any reason and told him so. The whole thing escalated from there with him calling me awful names and asking why I was so stupid.

The next day, I packed up my things and went back to my own apartment. I was married to my first husband for 22 years until he died, and, in all that time, he never spoke to me that way.

Now my partner says he wants to talk, telling me that I shouldn’t throw away our whole relationship over one, small argument. He says people fight and get angry, and then they get over it.  He admits he and his ex-wife used to fight like this, with each of them giving as good as they got. He claims that now that he knows how sensitive I am, he can take that into account moving forward.

It’s no small feat to find someone to date at my age, and things were going pretty well. He wants a second chance. Should I give it to him? My gut says no, but I’m not sure I can afford to make hasty decisions.

–Better Off Alone


Dear Better Off,

Listen to your gut, and don’t give this guy a second chance. Your sign-off line alone tells me that you already have the answer your seeking.

Through his behavior, your partner is telling you that verbal abuse is the price to pay for being with him. Listen to that. You lived in what sounds like a solid, respectful relationship for many years, so I have no doubt in your ability to understand the bounds of normal personal conflict.

To top it off, while your partner does seem very invested in continuing this relationship with you, he exhibits no remorse over his treatment of you. He blames the problem, instead, on your sensitivity, comparing you to another woman in the process, who, if his assertions are to be believed, was unfazed by destructive, ostensibly marriage-destroying, fights.

You say that things were going okay. This isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement, but is even this anemic statement true? Or was your partner gritting his teeth, holding back these horrible outbursts, through the initial stages of your relationship because he knows no one would sign on for an angry, entitled bully from the get-go?

I have no doubt that it is very difficult to find someone new to date in your age bracket. Being alone and prolonged loneliness can be very painful and corrosive. Being in a relationship with this particular person, however, will do you greater harm in the long run.

Take good care of yourself.



Barbara Boehm Miller
Fiction Writer and Creator of the Character, Lola Rolls

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